02/07/2011 09:30 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The First Lady's Dress

"Women, wear what you love. That's all you can say. That's my motto.
It's nice to have on a nice suit. But it's nicer to change a
generation, in terms of their health. It's a better use of my time to
focus on rallying this country around our military families. I mean,
there's so much that I hope to do in this role, that makes a
difference in people's lives."
-Michelle Obama

For more on this issue, read this.

Five years of raising awareness for New York's Garment Center have
been rendered irrelevant by one statement. What Michelle Obama
chooses to wear can save and create American jobs. Her influence on
the American fashion industry does not detract from her agenda in the
East Wing. The First Lady can support her causes and simultaneously
support a valuable American industry and the thousands of people it
employs. I wish she would rethink her statement.

As First Lady, Michelle Obama is the second most visible
representative of the American people. She has done so much for
American fashion already. The prime example is what she did by
wearing Jason Wu to the Inauguration. With one simple choice, Michelle
Obama catapulted the career of a young American designer and generated
demand, business, awareness, and jobs for an American company. This
decision put Jason Wu on the map.

I admire Michelle Obama's compassion and respect her work, and would
like to see her continue wearing domestic brands on the international
stage. Wearing that nice suit she mentioned can make a world of
difference in people's lives. She can embrace her role as a fashion
icon and use it to help an industry that is in danger of leaving our
shores permanently.

Like all businesses in America, fashion needs support from its
leadership. It's important for Americans to buy American-made
products, and we look to our First Lady and the President to set that
standard. When she wears an American designer to a high profile
international event she communicates to the world that the American
fashion industry is significant and relevant. That makes a